(TRENTON) – Assemblywomen Pam Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), chair of the Assembly Education Committee, and Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, released the following joint statement urging the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) to request a federal waiver to exempt students from standardized testing required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) this spring:
“This school year has been a year unlike any other. Many students have not been in a school building since last March. Some still lack access to devices, internet connectivity, and other resources that have contributed to educational disparities, learning delay and social-emotional concerns.
“With the high likelihood that any statewide assessment administered this year would need to be provided to students in both a remote and in-person format, the results of such standardized testing is not likely to yield any meaningful or consistent assessment of student academic performance. The challenges presented by this piecemeal administration of standardized tests to students – many of whom are still doing at-home learning – make it impossible to guarantee that it can be done in an equitable way. The vast majority of public education organizations are in agreement in calling for the suspension of tests.
“We continue to assess our students’ progress outside of standardized testing, regardless of whether they are learning in a school building or at home. Teachers use their own assessments to understand what their students have learned and what needs more attention. These tests provide data which is immediately actionable.
“Instead of more high stakes testing, which will not provide new or timely information, we should be focusing on students and teachers by providing the support they need.”
Assemblywoman Lampitt and Assemblywoman Jasey plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to require DOE to apply for a federal waiver for ESSA standardized testing.